Best 25 Brazilian Desserts (With Pictures!)
Having a diverse heritage and very fertile land, Brazilians have created vast numbers of delicious desserts and foods. Using tropical fruits, such as the cupuaçu and buriti, and maize, peanuts, and bananas, there is a Brazilian dessert for every craving and occasion.
Hands down the most popular dessert in Brazil. You might get away with a birthday party without a cake, but if there aren’t enough brigadeiros to fill the table, the guests might end up leaving early.
The brigadeiro is a very simple Brazilian bonbon, about the size of a golf ball. It is made from condensed milk, chocolate powder, and a fair amount of butter. The secret for the perfect brigadeiro is to stir the mixture non stop over a low heat for about 30 minutes, until it can be rolled up into a small sphere which you then cover in chocolate sprinkles.
When done well, the brigadeiro is very sweet; but not so sweet that you can only take tiny bites of it. A brigadeiro made with surgical perfection is sugary enough that you can eat dozens of them before you finally realize it might be a good idea to stop. Maybe after one… last… bite…
Quindim was originally a Portuguese recipe that was adopted and improved by the Brazilians. It is a classic sweet that can be found at birthday parties, family gatherings, and in nearly every bakery country wide. Quindim has a soft consistency and is really creamy. It is a baked dish made with eggs, sugar, butter, and, what makes it distinctly Brazilian, coconut milk and grated coconut.
This grated coconut not only improves the flavor but also gives the mix a bit of crunchiness. It is served in the same fashion as the brigadeiro; small spheres full of sweetness, served in plenty as the flavor is truly addictive nature.
An exceptionally succulent sweet, this popular desert is made from melted guava and sugar. The guava flavor gives it real sweetness. It can be made both paste-like or more solid so it can be sliced with a knife.
It is popularly served with cheese, to counteract the sweetness, forming a formidable, delicious combination.
4. Doce de Leite
Milk and sugar: that’s all you need for the sweetest Brazilian recipe in existence. Created in the state of Minas Gerais, the milk is slowly cooked for hours on end, and constantly stirred, until it reaches a caramel color. It is so excessively sweet that it’s difficult to eat much once, unless you are especially committed.
So sweet is it that you’re bound to start craving for it if you go for too long without a bite…
5. Maria Mole
The maria mole is most popular during the “São Cosme and São Damião” (Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian) national holiday. Originally a Catholic holiday that celebrates the patron saints of twins, it was also adopted and popularized for the African religious holidays of Candomblé and Umbanda.
It is the Brazilian equivalent of the famous American Halloween, where adults distribute packets of candy to children. While the candies in each package can vary, the traditional maria mole, made of egg white and gelatin, are found in every single one of them, and for an obvious reason: they are every kid’s favorite!
Very sweet and with the consistency of marshmallow, a single bite will tell you why they are so popular.
Pamonha is a unique dish that exists nowhere else but Brazil. It can be served savory or sweet. Made from fresh grated corn mixed with milk, it can be served savory or sweet, just add sugar or salt. This dough is molded into a tube and folded into the corn’s husk. Then it is finally ready to be cooked (???Not sure what a water bath is) in a water bath until it has a solid but extremely smooth pudding-like consistency.
Today it is common to add more complex fillings, such as sausages or cheese, for an ever better flavor! It is served mostly during the Festa Junina, a festival that celebrates the beginning of winter, but you can buy them throughout the year in any supermarket, usually frozen.
7. Curau de Milho
Curau is a pudding-like sweet made from ripe corn, coconut milk, cinnamon, and sugar. It is mostly eaten during the Festa junina festivals and is served cold in a cup.
While the ingredients are almost the same as its cousin pamonha, it is prepared differently. Instead of being cooked until it’s solid, it is refrigerated as soon as it comes out of the oven so it keeps its smooth, creamy consistency.
It is a favorite for eating during the Festa junina sarau: sitting round a big campfire, playing music and telling stories until either the fire starts to fade or the sun begins to rise.
8. Geléia de Mocotó (Mocotó Jam)
Despite being a type of jam, this has no fruit in it. The main ingredient of the mocotó jam is cow hooves. It is traditionally called a jam because of the consistency of the boiled cartilage. After the boiling the hooves, milk and sugar are added to balance out the strong taste of the dish.
It is eaten like jam on bread and cakes, but the most die hard fans eat it on its own as a dessert.
9. Pé de Moleque
A delicious, surprisingly nutritious dessert, the Pé de moleque is served as a candy. It is made from roasted peanuts mixed with melted brown sugar. The mixture is cooked until it becomes hard as rock, then it is cut into square shaped sweets and sold individually.
Literally translated it is “Brat’s foot”, but the origin of the curious name is a bit of a myth. The sweet was extremely popular among kids, so much so that street vendors had to fight off swarm of kids trying to steal it. Tired of this ordeal every single day, the vendors would tell the little darlings to ask for a piece rather than steal it – Pede, moleque! (Ask for it, brat!)
10. Banana Frita (Fried Bananas)
Most popular in the northern region of Brazil, fried bananas are extremely versatile, nutritious, and delicious. Usually served as a dessert, it is also a popular side dish served with any kind of fish. The bananas can be fried whole or in slices, seasoned with sugar and cinnamon. So incredibly appetizing with a delicious, uniquely tropical flavor.
The recipe for rapadura originally came from a method of storing and transporting the massive amounts of sugar that drove imperial Brazil’s entire economy. Rapadura is simply unrefined sugarcane juice cooked until it solidifies into a mass of extremely concentrated sweetness.
It quickly became a coveted product in its own right, eaten as a dessert or to give a quick calorie boost during intense physical labor.
12. Mousse de Maracujá (Passion Fruit Mousse)
Mousse de maracujá is a traditional dessert served in all regions of Brazil. It not only has a distinct appearance, bright orange topped with a large amount of succulent tropical seeds, but also the distinct, citric flavor of the passion fruit.
The name Ambrosia comes from Greek mythology, where it is depicted as the food of the gods. It is also the name of a sweet made from milk and eggs that is served in the southern regions of Brazil. It is made by adding a sweet syrup of cinnamon and cloves to a pot of milk and slow cooking the eggs, barely stirring at all, until they start to harden.
The result is a dessert smoother than any french omelette, a dish that has the taste of divinity.
Cocada is a succulent sweet made from grated coconut, condensed milk, and sugar cooked at a low temperature. It can be served either hot or cold. It’s sweet taste lingers in the mouth for quite a while, making it one of the most favored Brazilian desserts.
15. Creme de Cupuaçu
Cupuaçu is a fruit native to the Amazon rainforest that has a very distinct, strong and acidic taste. While too sour to be enjoyed on its own, it is the number 1 fruit throughout the country when used in sweet recipes.
By mixing the fresh pulp of the fruit with cream and generous amounts of sugar in a blender, you get a refreshing sweet with small hints of critic flavor. Many people like to add cupuaçu cream to their Açai, a mix called “Romeo and Juliet”
16. Bolo de Rolo
Guaranteed, this tastes as good as it looks. Bolo de rolo is a dessert originally from the state of Pernambuco but is sold all over the country. It consists of a highly sugared dough made of eggs and flour wrapped around layers and layers of melted guava. It’s a delicacy of highly flavored deliciousness.
The city of Recife is so famous for it’s bolo de rolo that all friends and family expect to get one as a gift when you visit.
Looks can be deceptive, and while the acarajé might look quite innocent, this small dumpling can be very spicy! The dough is made from string beans, onions, and garlic and it is fried in palm oil to give it its characteristic taste and crunchiness.
The original recipe comes from Africa and was brought to Brazil by slaves. It is extremely popular in the north east of Brazil, specially in the state of Bahia. Served with various spicy condiments and dried shrimps, the number of Acarajé vendors on Bahia beaches makes an appetizing aroma that takes over the whole place!
Canjica is a desert made out of white corn. It is served hot in a bowl and is very sweet. Seasoned with cloves and cinammon, you can’t call a festival a “Festa junina” if you don’t have a huge queue of people eagerly waiting for their cangicas.
Paçoca is a traditional candy made of peanuts, cassava flour, and sugar. You will alwyas find it during festa juninas and in “Saint Cosmas and Damian” packages given to kids. Commercial paçoca is the most common given its convenience and taste, but there are also bakeries that sell home made paçocas.
The biggest difference between them is the dryness. The commercial paçoca makes your mouth extremely dry as you eat it, but a home made paçoca is not so dry, making it easier to keep eating them – until your teeth hurt!
Created in the northeast region of Brazil, cartola is a dish made out of fried bananas, a generous amount of butter, sugar, cinnamon, and the regional cheese “queijo coalho”, which gets an amazingly tender consistency when heated.
The dish is made of layers: the first layer is banana, then melted cheese is poured over the top, and finally a sweet syrup of butter and sugar is added for an amazingly flavored experience.
21. Pudim de Leite ( Milk Pudding)
One of the most popular home made desserts all over the country, the Pudim de leite is pretty easy to make and is a sure success when serving guests. Its soft dough is made of condensed milk and eggs, slow cooked over boiling water for about an hour until it gets the perfect consistency.
It is then topped with melted sugar, and, once it has cooled in the fridge, it is ready to served. Biting a well-made pudding is unforgettable, and when the guests ask for the recipe, you know the job is well done.
Pavê is a multilayered cake with a large amount of sweet cream made from liquor, crunchy crackers, and chocolate. It is traditionally served during Christmas and is the most coveted dessert of them all. You can’t call it a proper Brazilian Christmas without a mouthwatering pavê.
Traditionally it is only served one someone recites the famous line, “É pa vê ou pa comê?” “Is this to be admired (Pa vê) or eaten?!”
23. Doce de Buriti
The buriti is a native fruit of the semi-arid lands of central Brazil. It has a characteristically sour taste that means it is not commonly eaten as a fruit but makes it the perfect addition to many recipes.
The traditional doce de buriti is made of fruit, sugar, ginger, lemon juice, a bit of garlic, and a hint of pepper. The result is an exotic dish that is sweet, sour, bitter all in one bite.
Açai is a super food, with an incredible energy density. It is a favorite dish after high intensity activities such as going to the gym, spending a day at the beach, or playing soccer.
It is served ice cold with a texture that can vary from almost liquid, that can be drank from a cup, to a purple paste that is eaten with a spoon, usually accompanied by bits of banana and granola, turning it into an obscenely high energy meal with up to 1,000 calories!
Açai has a notably bitter taste that could be too much for first timers without adding a bit of sugar, but when the temperature goes up, there is nothing better than a cool bowl of açai to soothen the nerves.
This was made well before Portuguese colonizers came to the country. The word tapioca has Tupi origins, an indigenous tribe native to the northern region of Brazil. Tapioca is a white dough made from the manioc plant. It is served like a crepe with fillings that vary from the traditional stick of butter to more elaborate fillings like cheese, ham, fruit jam, chocolate, or meat.
The tapioca doesn’t have much flavor on its own, but that is easily solved by adding one of many creative fillings. The key characteristic that makes the tapioca a staple food, besides its health benefits, is its unique consistency. It is at the same time a solid dough and a gummy paste, incredibly easy to eat, yet delicious!
It is served in most hotels for breakfast, but is also sold on small tapioca stalls all over cities throughout the day. Be careful though: the best stalls tend to have large queues!
If you love Brazilian desserts, check out our guide to the most popular Brazilian foods and drinks.